The History of the Sacred and of Getting Stoned

It is true that the change of the calendar year never struck me as important. This year however is different. I’m making my first ever New Year’s resolution and I think there’s good reason why.

Meanwhile I’ll modify this blog to share tidbits of news, thoughts, notions that I find of interest. They’ll range from Siloism, to science, to daily life.

I’ll start to day with the science of ecstasy…

My poor cortex – my feeble reason and more to the point, my feeble memory, is increasingly shaky. There were always certain things that my memory was just not good for, especially numbers, and dates, that’s one of the reasons I became interested in mnemonics when I was very young. Tell me a phone number and I’ll have forgotten the first number by the time you say the fourth; no Joke, it’s pathetic. So I write these kind of things down (or enter them in my phone, or…) or if they are important and there’s no convenient way to record them, I use one of my mnemonic systems and I can remember that string of seven or 17 or 117 digits for as long as I need to.

However when it came to ideas, stories, argument, contextualized facts, etc. I had a great memory. I suppose that’s why when I hung out with Silo I rarely took notes while he spoke – except in official meetings – usually I’d jot some reminders down once I was alone. Even then I wasn’t very thorough about it. But anyway after all these years I did have many hundreds of pages of notes – and I had been planning to go through them at some point…

Then much of that was lost when my home flooded about 6 months ago. No big deal, I’d always counted on the fact that if I understood what was being said I’d remember it. If I forgot it was because, I didn’t get it, or it didn’t fit, or I wasn’t ready for it. If that happened than through study and with the help of others, I would pick up on the missing parts when my understanding, or my need had grown.

And it worked, sort of, at least until a few years back…

And it’s gotten worse. Now it’s not just an occasional name its…

Where was I? Oh yah, now it’s almost everything….

Perhaps that was too cute, but the reality is that forgetting is not as unpleasant as I would have imagined, in fact there’s something deeply comforting about letting go of so many memories.

But I keep forgetting what I wanted to tell you.

So before I forget again, here goes:
The plan is frequent updates of the external memory (notebooks, reminders, things like this blog) – before it’s too late!

My resolution(s): I’m going to start posting things that are perhaps only of passing interest and which I would normally mention only to those close at hand. A lot of this will be semi-random reflections on ideas and things that I “stumble” across but which I find related to my (our?) more fundamental interests

Let’s try one to get started. Todays subject the science of intoxication…

As you may know over the last few years I’ve been working on and off writing up my research on the distillation of alcohol. My interest in such an obscure and recondite (nice word!) branch of knowledge deserves some explanation. I know it sounds like a very specialized question, of interest only to historians of science and technology.

Not being an academic, or a drinker, my interest is neither careerist nor practical. As with my earlier monograph on Mad Honey – I am writing as a student of Silo’s and from our shared interest in the history of humanity’s relationship with the sacred. And while it seems excessive to claim that the root of all the great religious manifestations is a (new or rediscovered) psychedelic substance, technique or technology – nonetheless there can be no doubt that technique, procedures, and substances of all kinds have been exploited in the attempt to enter the realm of the sacred.

In my next note (tomorrow?) we discover that we may not be alone in the desire to burst the bonds that enchain us to this space and time and, as William Blake said:

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.